DENVER (CBS4)– Two National Park Rangers testified Wednesday that the spot in Rocky Mountain National Park where Harold Henthorn took his wife and where she fell to her death in 2012 was “obscure” according to one and ‘unusual’ according to a second ranger.
Federal prosecutors believe Henthorn meticulously planned the 2012 anniversary hike and shoved his wife, Toni, off a rocky cliff 140 feet to her death. He was the only witness to what happened. Prosecutors believe his motive was $4.7 million in insurance he had taken out on his ophthalmologist wife.READ MORE: Trevor Woodruff Identified As Suspect In Deadly Shooting Outside Of Walgreens
Henthorn is on trial for murder and has pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors also believe he murdered his first wife in 1995 camouflaging it as a freak accident.
Ranger Paul Larson testified that he visited the site where Toni Henthorn tumbled to her death on Deer Mountain. He said there was ‘no trail leading to it’ and termed it an “obscure area.”
“It’s a cliff,” said Larson in describing the spot where Toni Henthorn fell.
As Larson testified, prosecutors showed the jury numerous videos and photos of the area. Several of the pictures were of Toni Henthorn’s body at the base of the cliff. Her father, Robert Bertolet, dabbed away tears as the photos of his daughter were shown. Henthorn kept his head down, appearing to never look at the photos that were being displayed on large TV monitors and never looking at the family of his dead wife.
Larson testified that the violent fall knocked off both of Toni Henthorn’s hiking boots which were found strewn around the cliff. However several photos showed Toni Henthorn’s camera resting right next to her body.
One juror asked a question, “Was it strange Toni’s camera was found so close to her body?”READ MORE: Maize In The City, Colorado Family Tradition, Opens For A New Year
Judge R. Brooke Jackson referred the question back to Larson who said, “I find it interesting the camera was that close.”
Larson said he would have expected the camera to have been found further away. Henthorn previously told authorities his wife fell as she was taking a picture from the top of the cliff. Larson testified that the back of the camera was missing.
A second Ranger, Mark Pita, testified that he too hiked to the spot where Toni Henthorn fell several days after her death.
“To me it was surprising people would go down there,” said Pita. He called it “an unusual out of the way spot… a rugged area.”
When Toni Henthorn fell, she was wearing her wedding ring but when rangers found her body, the diamond was missing from the ring. Larson said the diamond was not found.
Following a one hour lunch break, the Larimer County coroner took the stand. As his testimony began, Toni Henthorn’s father and one of her brothers left the courtroom.
The trial is scheduled to run until late September.MORE NEWS: Colorado Task Force 1 No Longer On Alert Amid Intensifying Hurricane Sam